“Cafeteria” Organizer: How I Approach Planning

In late December, I saved an article to read, and I keep “snoozing” it every so often. (A relatively new feature in Gmail which I welcomed at first, but now I feel that I’m using it with wild abandon.) I’m halfway through the first month of 2021, so I figured it was time to stop snoozing and do something. Which, at times, seems like a metaphor for my life….

This article, by Gretchen Rubin, is about creating a list of things you want to accomplish in a year, rather than making resolutions. I really think it’s splitting hairs to call it that, but hey, you do you.

You could choose to do it based on the calendar year – 21 things in 2021, as this article suggests. Or use your age – 35 things for 35! 42 things for 42! I will not go there because that would give me a list as long as my arm. Plus, I took her quiz and I’m a Questioner, so I’d be skeptical about why this makes sense for me (see “splitting hairs” line, above).

I’m already kind of doing this with my annual and monthly Brain Dumps, which provide fodder for my setting goals, organizing my time, and making so many to-do lists.

I said that my word this year was going to be Systems, and I suppose that this kind of a list would be a sort of a system, but it’s not one that would work for me. I have to identify Systems that work for me. (People tell me, “You’re so organized!” but really, I have to force organization upon myself or nothing would get done.)

Acuity works for me. Square works for me. Weight Watchers works for me. My Google calendars (and most other Google products) work for me. I’d like to set up a specific mailing list but I have to figure out which one will best suit me and that’s making my head explode right now.

Last year I bought a fancy planner that had a bunch of pages for organizing my thoughts, doing project management, etc., but that is not a system that works for me.  It just annoyed me, after awhile, but since I’d paid $50 for this planner, I figured I had to use it.

Just give me a legal pad for my to-do list, a dry erase board for my quarterly planning, and notebooks to write down my brain dumps and organize my thoughts, and I’m fine. I will create Systems that work for me. It’s like the old phrase, “Cafeteria Catholic.” Take from the dogma what works for you, leave the rest behind. I guess I’m a Cafeteria Organizer.  If I see an idea in a planner that I like, I’ll use it.  But bullet journals aren’t for me.

How are you going to organize your 2021? What works for you? What doesn’t? Is the thought of organizing anathema to you? How do you get things done? Tell me in the comments. 😀


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Published by Mezzoid Voice Studio

Christine Thomas-O'Meally, a mezzo soprano and voice teacher currently based in the Baltimore-DC area, has performed everything from the motets of J.S. Bach to the melodies of Irving Berlin to the minimalism of Philip Glass. As an opera singer and actress, she has appeared with companies such as Charm City Players, Spotlighters Theatre, Chicago Opera Theater, Opera Theater of Northern Virginia, Opera North, the Washington Savoyards, In Tandem Theatre, Windfall Theater, The Young Victorian Theater of Baltimore, and Skylight Opera Theatre. She created the role of The Woman in Red in Dominick Argento’s Dream of Valentino in its world premiere with the Washington Opera and Mary Pickersgill in O'er the Ramparts at its world premiere during the Bicentennial of Battle of Baltimore at the Community College of Baltimore County. Other roles include Mrs. Paroo in Music Man, Mother Abbess in Sound of Music, Dorabella in Cosi Fan Tutte, Marcellina in Le Nozze di Figaro, both Hansel and the Witch in Hansel & Gretel, and many roles in Gilbert & Sullivan operettas. Her performance as the Housekeeper in Man of La Mancha was honored with a WATCH award nomination. Ms. Thomas-O'Meally received an M.M. in vocal performance from the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore. She regularly attends master classes and workshops in both performance and vocal pedagogy, and is certified in all three Levels of Somatic Voicework™ The LoVetri Method. Her students have performed on national and international tours of Broadway productions, at prestigious conservatories, and in regional theater throughout the country.

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